Jesus Anointed at Bethany

Jesus Anointed at Bethany

HOLY WEEK: 6th April 2020

John 12:1-11

Jesus Anointed at Bethany

12 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint[a] of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.[b]” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you,[c] but you will not always have me.”

Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, 11 for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.

In New Testament times, Passover lambs were chosen 6 days in advance… This allowed them to be inspected for the next 5 days leading up to Passover. Most of them had damaged feet and ankles because of the rocky hillside. They would therefore take the anointing oil and rub it onto the ankles and feet prior to them being inspected for the next 5 days.

 

My first point is – Mary knew that the Savior must die

See. Jesus told His disciples that He must die. While His disciples were unable to grasp this,  I believe Mary did… She undoubtedly recognized her sin and need of a suffering Savior and did this as an act of faith and devotion. She understood the reason for His death and she understood the significance of His death. Mary Knew that Jesus was the Passover Lamb to come. She knew and understood what was about to happen

John 12:3 tells us that the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume… As a result of her insight and actions, the fragrance of Christ filled the house. This did not call attention to Mary or religion, but to the Savior as the King who must die for the sin of the world. Let’s not forget this very important point… Jesus should be the centre of everything. It’s not about what we do, but about what He did… This leeds me to ask the question. What is our fragrance of worship like? Does it point people to Jesus? Does it make Him the Centre of it all?

Mary knew what the perfume was worth. To put it in perspective. It is worth about 300 Denarii. According to history. In those days you were paid roughly 1 Denarri per day. Lets put it into rands.. Average wage per month is around R4500. That totals to R44 400… I don’t know about you, but R44.400 is quite a lot of money to just throw out on someone’s feet… See, I believe that Mary knew this wasn’t even close to being costly enough for what Jesus was about to do for her and for every single one of us…

This leads me to ask this question – How “costly” is your sacrifice for Jesus?

My second point is – Judas’ Reaction

John 12:4-6 says

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.[b]” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

It doesn’t mention any of the other disciples saying anything in response to what Judas said. I can only assume by their silence they agreed that this was wasteful and that it could have been sold and given to the poor.

For me, the most significant point about this is that Jesus obviously knew that Judas was about to betray him. Yet He still sat and ate with him. The beauty about Jesus is that He changes things…

Would you sit and have a meal with someone that is a thief and that you know is about to sell you out, give you over to be put to a cruel death. In all honesty. I wouldn’t…

This element of Jesus’ love is what called me to redemption. I remember when I was a sinful man and in front of people I was a good, church going Christian, but in private I actually wanted nothing to do with Christ. Yet Jesus still loved me and held me and welcomed me… We need to understand this. Jesus never lets you go… It all boils down to the decision you make at the end of the day. Will you accept him or betray him?

 

My third point  – Jesus’ reaction

Verse 7 and 8 says this

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you,[c] but you will not always have me.”

Jesus knew the intentions of Mary’s heart and understood why she did it. In the same way He sees the intention of our hearts and why we are doing what we do in our daily living. Let’s be honest. You can’t hide anything from Jesus. He knows why you are doing what you are doing and He sees the intention of your heart. He knew that Mary understood what was going to happen. Mary knew that Jesus was about to die for our sins.

In closing my final point is – “But you will not always have me”

The ‘Me’ at the end of verse 7 is emphatic… This strongly attests to the uniqueness of His person and what was about to happen. He was the unique Son of God who was about to die for our sins, be raised, and ascend into heaven, leaving His disciples to proclaim the Good News. He was anticipating His resurrection and victory over death…

This also shows the spiritual is always more important than the social. What I mean by this is. Social reform, as here, can and is often used as a substitute for our faith in the Savior… We are so easily caught up in the moment when we are around other believers that you sense God’s presence, and yes, His presence is there, but it is in those quiet moments when you are alone that your relationship really improves. When it’s just you and God. When you don’t need to put on a mask to show the world that all is well when deep within you are broken. It’s in those moments that you can feel God’s presence even more than ever. I see it like this.

Social gatherings are very important to build physical relationship with fellow believers and to encourage one another.

Time alone with God is where you build relationship with Jesus and that takes you to the next level in terms of spiritual maturity.

Yes social gatherings are important, but we need to get real in our relationship with God. We need to be like Mary and spill all we have at His feet. Not caring about what others may think of it. Like Mary, we need to understand what Jesus was about to do. Why He was going to do  it and for who He was doing it for. It amazes me every single day to think that Jesus went through all of that for me… I want to encourage you to focus on your relationship with Jesus. Talk to him regularly… Be real with Him… Lay everything at His feet… Pour your heart out… Seek His presence… Allow Him to make the changes that are (not ‘is’) needed in your life. Allow Him to be your Savior, your redeemer, your helper…

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